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  5. Should the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 treat all long-term relationships the same?

Should the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 treat all long-term relationships the same?

If the partners to a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship separate after being together for three years or more, the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 requires them to divide their property in the same way regardless of the relationship type.

The same treatment reflects New Zealand’s human rights law, which prohibits discrimination based on the type of relationship you are in. The same treatment also recognises that different relationship types can involve similar levels of commitment and they can face the same property issues when the relationships end.

But there may be a problem if the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 treats relationships the same when they are actually different. The law should focus on relationships that are substantively the same.

Provided the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 focuses on long-term relationships that are the same, we think the Act should continue to apply the same rules to all relationships regardless of relationship type. But we want to know what you think.

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